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Since the emergence of microcontrollers, many different memory technologies have been used. Almost all microcontrollers have at least two different kinds of memory, a non-volatile memory for storing firmware and a read-write memory for temporary data.


From the earliest microcontrollers to today, six-transistor SRAM is almost always used as the read/write working memory, with a few more transistors per bit used in the register file. MRAM could potentially replace it as it is 4-10 times denser which would make it more cost effective.

In addition to the SRAM, some microcontrollers also have internal EEPROM for data storage; and even ones that do not have any (or not enough) are often connected to external serial EEPROM chip (such as the BASIC Stamp) or external serial flash memory chip.

A few recent microcontrollers beginning in 2003 have "self-programmable" flash memory.



The earliest microcontrollers used mask ROM to store firmware. Later microcontrollers (such as the early versions of the Freescale 68HC11 and early PIC microcontrollers) had quartz windows that allowed ultraviolet light in to erase the EPROM.

The Microchip PIC16C84, introduced in 1993, was the first microcontroller to use EEPROM to store firmware

Also in 1993, Atmel introduced the first microcontroller using NOR Flash memory to store firmware.

PSoC microcontrollers, introduced in 2002, store firmware in SONOS flash memory.

MRAM could potentially be used to store firmware.